Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tepper's Contract Status Quo, but Illini Coach `Not Anxious'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tepper's Contract Status Quo, but Illini Coach `Not Anxious'

Article excerpt

As excited as Illinois athletic director Ron Guenther was after the Illini defeated Michigan on Saturday, one half expected him to immediately bestow a new contract on coach Lou Tepper.

Guenther had been shaking hands and patting backs in the tunnel leading from the field to the locker room. As a member of the last Illinois team to win at Michigan in 1966, Guenther appreciated the significance of this victory, perhaps more than anyone else in Michigan Stadium.

But no announcement came in the immediate afterglow of the 24-21 victory.

So it was assumed that Guenther and Tepper would get together Monday, come to terms and announce the contract extension Tuesday at the weekly news conference in the Varsity Room.

Guenther wasn't in attendance, however. The school's sports information department said only that the contract situation would be addressed at the end of the season.

Tepper, who is in the second year of a three-year contract, has been on a hot streak the last two weeks. The Illini buried Iowa 49-3 on Oct. 16 in Iowa City, and then beat Michigan for the first time since 1983.

Tepper certainly is delighted with the way the last four games have gone. Illinois beat Purdue 28-10, lost 20-12 to No. 3 Ohio State in a game that could have gone either way, and then moved into the race for the Big Ten Conference championship the last two weeks.

"We hadn't beaten Iowa since 1989, and we hadn't beaten Michigan since I've been here," Tepper said. "We've had two weeks in a row that have been spectacular."

About the lack of a contract beyond next year?

"It's not a secret," he said. "Ron and I talked about it three or four weeks ago when we were not doing well. In terms of Ron Guenther, I think most everybody who supports me is saying, `Gee whiz, what is he waiting for and why doesn't he do something now while we're putting on a surge?'

"Ron Guenther and I have talked about the contract. I'm the one who is not anxious about it. I don't have time to really mess with it right now. …

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